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Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antiretroviral Agent Kivexa® Adult, Children

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) cause?

The most common side effects of Kivexa® include:

  • Nausea and vomiting. Eating small frequent meals or sucking on hard, sugar-free candy may help to reduce these side effects.
  • Stomach discomfort. Take medication after food to reduce gastric discomfort.

  • Loose stools. Rehydrate yourself by drinking lots of water.

  • Headache or muscle aches. Taking painkillers e.g. paracetamol can help to reduce the pain.

  • Fever. Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce the fever.

  • Fatigue

  • Hair Loss

  • Change in body fat. Fat accumulation around the waist and sometimes accompanied by thinning of legs, arms, buttocks and face

Inform your doctor if any of the side effects above become serious or bothersome.

Some rare, but serious side effects of Kivexa® that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Widespread rash with blisters and peeling skin, particularly around the mouth, nose, eyes and genitals
  • Numbness, tingly feelings in the skin (pins and needles)

  • Sensation of weakness in the limbs

  • Liver disorders characterized by yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

  • Severe and/or persistent abdominal pain

Stop using Kivexa® and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the potentially serious side effects above.

Kivexa® contains abacavir which can cause a serious allergic reaction known as a hypersensitivity reaction. The hypersensitivity reaction (fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, worsening of cough or breathlessness, severe abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rashes) can occur at any time during treatment with Kivexa®, especially during the first 6 weeks of treatment initiation.

Contact your doctor immediately:

  • if you get a skin rash, OR

  • if you get symptoms from at least 2 of the following groups:

    • fever

    • shortness of breath, sore throat or cough

    • nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain

    • severe tiredness or achiness, or generally feeling ill.

The doctor may advise you to stop taking Kivexa® if there is a suspicion of hypersensitivity reaction.  

Abacavir may also affect the cholesterol level and liver enzymes level. Your doctor will routinely monitor the levels prior to the treatment initiation and during the therapy.

Before taking Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine), what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine)?

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - Additional Information

​Some medications may reduce the efficacy or increase the toxicity of Kivexa®. Do not give your child any other medications, supplements or herbal products without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Updated on Thursday, December 21, 2017
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy Department KK Women's and Children's Hospital

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